It seems like cooking/restaurant reality based shows are popping up on every network. You’ve got Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” on Fox, and Bravo’s “Top Chef.” Then, of course, there are The Food Network’s “Chopped” and “Ultimate Recipe Showdown,” among others. Now NBC is getting into the action, with their new show, “The Chopping Block,” set to debut this Wednesday at 8pm/7pm central. The premise is that renowned British chef Marco Pierre White will direct two teams of four couples each in taking a restaurant from the ground up, with one couple being eliminated per week and the grand prize winner taking home $250,000.
We must now be so enamored with crass British reality TV talent judges that we now have to build shows around them. Along with Ramsay, “American Idol’s” Simon Cowell also comes immediately to mind. But while White seems to have Ramsay’s values, he has Cowell’s soft-spoken delivery and looks more like Howard Stern. Regardless, we caught a screener of the first two episodes and the show, which takes place in the restaurant hotbed of New York City, is definitely entertaining. The restaurant business is pressure-packed enough, but add TV cameras and celebrity food critics as well as some volatile contestants, and you’ve got some great natural drama. If you like any of the shows mentioned, you’re going to love this one too, provided you have time in your busy reality TV-watching schedule.